Science

Mad, Bad and Dangerous

In Trust Us, We're Experts, PR Watch editors Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber examined the ways that industry PR manipulates science and gambles with your future. Now British science writer Colin Tudge is exploring similar themes. Whether the topic is pharmaceuticals or genetically modified foods, he says, "people distrust what scientists tell them. And they are perfectly right to do so. ...

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Secrecy and Science

"Science has now become the leading edge of the [Bush Administration's] crackdown on public access to government information," according to the New York Times. The Administration has withdrawn from public access over 6,600 technical reports concerning biological and chemical weapons production on grounds that they might help terrorists or others develop weapons of mass destruction. The Bush Administration is also calling upon scientific societies to impose limits on their scientific publications.

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How a Pseudo-Scientist Duped the Big Media

"Bjorn Lomborg's new book, The Skeptical Environmentalist, brings us glorious news. The world's environment is getting better, not worse. ... If this sounds too good to be true, that's because it is. The Skeptical Environmentalist presents itself as a work of impartial scholarship, an attempt to test the validity of various environmental concerns through a careful analysis of the evidence. In fact, it's a polemic, an intellectually dishonest tract filled with glaring omissions, appalling errors of fact and analysis, and inaccurate characterizations of contrary arguments.

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Warning: Industry PR Smears Good Science As "Junk Science"

Public health scientists Samet and Burke issue a strong warning in the current American Journal of Public Health about "the tobacco industry's attempt to discredit the scientific evidence on passive smoking, particularly the industry's use of the label 'junk science.' ... Unfortunately, 'junk science' has now become an ingrained pejorative. The public health community will need to be watchful in other arenas where the "junk science" gambit will be used. ... Trust Us We're Experts offer(s) a popular and cautionary account.... The lessons learned from this episode ...

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Tobacco Industry Sponsors "Sound Science"

Doctors Elisa Ong and Stanton A. Glantz have published a study documenting the tobacco industry's attack on so-called "junk science" to discredit the evidence that secondhand smoke -- among other environmental toxins -- causes disease. "Philip Morris used public relations firms and lawyers to develop a 'sound science' program in the United States and Europe that involved recruiting other industries and issues to obscure the tobacco industry's role," they write.

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Improper Lab Partners

In the last 20 years, corporate funding in the fields of information technology and biotechnology has grown faster than support from any other source, and there is growing concern over possible corporate interference and industrial pressures that could inappropriately influence the direction, interpretation, and outcome of research. This past summer, several organizations took measures to examine and address this situation.

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Independent Scientists An Endangered Species

Independent scientists worldwide are finding it harded to exist in institutions increasing funded by corporate dollars. In a Institute of Science in Society report, Dr. Mae-Wan Ho tells the stories of scientists who have lost their livelihoods for going against the grain, calling on civil society and government to take concrete measures to protect independent scientists, and to support independent science that benefit society as a whole rather than big corporations.

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Junkman Seeks Human Guinea Pigs

Steven Milloy, the industry lobbyist and Cato Institute staffer who calls himself "the junkman" at www.junkscience.com, is going to be getting a lot of publicity in the coming months. He has a book coming out in September titled Junk Science Judo: Self-Defense Against Health Scares and Scams, which he is already promoting on the radio talk show circuit.

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